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HOW the WORKS

All metals contain a movable substance called "electric charge". Evenuncharged wires are full of charge! ~ all, the atom of the metal aremade fifty percent of positively-charged protons, and half of negative electrons. Metals arespecial due to the fact that their electrons don"t stay associated to the steel atoms,instead lock constantly fly roughly inside the steel and type a form of electric"liquid" inside the wires. All wires are complete of electric fluid. Modernscientists call this fluid by the surname "electron sea" or "electron gas," or the "sea of charge." The fluidcharge is movable, and this lets metals be electrical conductors. The movable charge-stuff is notinvisible, it actually gives metals your silvery shine. The electron gasis favor a silvery fluid. Sort of.

You are watching: How to light a lightbulb with a magnet and copper wire

whenever a one of wire surrounds a magnetic field, and if the magnetic ar then changes, a one "pressure" referred to as Voltage appears. The quicker the magnetic ar changes, the larger the voltage becomes. This one voltage trys to force the movable charges within the wire to rotate about the circle. In various other words, moving magnets cause transforming magnetic areas which try to produce electric currents in closed one of wire. A relocating magnet causes a pumping action. If the circuit is no complete, if there is a break, climate the pumping pressure will reason no fee flow. Instead, a voltage difference will show up at the end of the wir es. But if the circuit is "complete" or "closed", climate the magnet"s pumping activity can pressure the electrons of the coil to start flowing. A relocating magnet can produce an electric existing in a close up door circuit. The impact is dubbed Electromagnetic Induction. This is a straightforward law of physics, and it is provided by all coil/magnet electric generators. Generators don"t have actually just one one of wire. Expect that plenty of metal one surround themoving magnet. Suppose that every the circles are linked in series toform a coil. The tiny voltage from each circle will include togetherto offer much bigger voltage. A coil with 100 transforms will have a hundreds times an ext voltage than a one-turn coil.Why is this generator AC and not DC? as soon as the magnets flip, they create a pulse of voltage. But when they upper and lower reversal a second time, they produce an the opposite pulse? Yes. So then a turn magnet is always making electric signals that go plus-minus-plus-minus? Yep. It wake up because, in bespeak to produce voltage and also current, a magnet pole need to sweep sideways across a wire. If rather it sweeps along a wire, nothing happens. In our little generator here, the magnet poles don"t sweep constantly along the curve of the wire. Instead, an initial the north magnet pole sweeps throughout one side of the coil, and at the same time the southern magnet pole sweeps backwards throughout the other side. The 2 effects add together. Yet next, the magnet keeps turning around, and also now the opposite poles sweep throughout those components of the coil. The magnet has actually flipped, the magnet poles space reversed, therefore the coil"s 2nd pulse that voltage will certainly be backwards. And if a bulb is connected, then any type of current will be backwards too. Each time the magnet makes one complete turn, it create a forward pulse and also then a backwards pulse. Turn the magnet fast, and also it provides an alternative wave: AC.

If you desire a DC generator, you"ll have actually to include a distinct reversing move to the magnet shaft. It"s a switch referred to as a "commutator." all DC generators have these. After ~ every half-turn, it reverses the link to the coil. That method it come out together pulsed DC. If you look up some DIY projects for DC generators, you"ll see how to build the commutator switch. Yet those generators aren"t Ultra Simple!
Now because that the irradiate bulb. If we connect the end of the coil together, then whenever the magnet moves, the metal"s charges will move and a big electric existing will appear in the coil. The coil gets slightly warm. What if we instead affix a irradiate bulb in between the end of the coil? A light pear is really just a item of slim wire. The charges of the light bulb"s filament will be propelled along. Once the charges within the copper wire pass into the thin light pear filament, their speed substantially increases. Once the charges leave the filament and move ago into the bigger copper wire, they sluggish down again. Within the small filament, the fast-moving charges heat the steel by a kind of electrical "friction". The metal filament gets so warm that the glows. The moving charges likewise heat the wires the the generator a bit, but since the generator wires room so much thicker, and also since the bulb"s thin filament is slow the present throughout the whole coil, almost all of the heating takes place in the light pear filament.So, just affix a light bulb to a coil the wire, ar a short powerful magnet in the coil, then flip the magnet fast. The faster you spin the magnet, the greater the voltage pump-force becomes, and the brighter the light pear lights up. The an ext powerful her magnet, the higher the voltage and the brighter the bulb. And the an ext circles of cable in your coil, the greater the voltage and the brighter the bulb. In theory you should be able to light up a typical 3V flashlight bulb, yet only if you deserve to spin your magnets inhumanly fast.

OTHER things TO TRY

Disconnect one wire from the light bulb. Spin the magnet. Whilestill rotate the magnet, have actually a friend touch the wires togetherso the bulb lights increase again. Is the pond still simple to spin?Keep spinning the magnet while her friend connects and also disconnectsthe bulb. Feel any kind of differences in how difficult you should spin the nail?Also shot spinning the magnets while your friend associate the generator wires straight together (with no bulb connected.)

SO WHAT?

When you crank the generator and also make the lightbulb revolve on, you areworking versus electrical friction in stimulate to produce the heat and light.You can FEEL the work-related you perform, due to the fact that whenever you attach the bulb,it unexpectedly gets harder to crank the generator. When you disconnect thebulb, it gets easier. Think of it prefer this. If you rub your hands with each other lightly, the skinstays cool, yet if you obstacle your hands together hard, her skin gets hot.It takes much more effort to rub skin tough so that it heats up; it takes work. And in a comparable way, it"s tough to warm the lightbulbfilament, that takes work. You twist the generator shaft, the generatorpushes the wire"s charge through the small filament, and if friend don"t keepspinning the magnet, the magnet will certainly be slowed quickly.

FEEL THE ELECTRONS

When your hand spins the magnets, you deserve to feel the extra occupational it takesto light the bulb. Shot spinning the magnets with the pear disconnected.The magnets end up being much harder to spin. This happens because your hand is linked to theflowing fee in the bulb, and when you press on it, you deserve to feel itpush earlier on you! exactly how is your hand linked to the flowing charges? your hand twists the nail, the nail spins themagnet, the magnet pushes the invisible magnetic fields, the fieldspush the movable charges, the charges circulation slowly through the lightbulb filament, and also the small filament causes friction against the flowof charge and heats up. But then the turning back happens! The chargecan"t move much because of the tiny filament, so it resists thepressure from the magnetic fields, which subsequently resist the pressurefrom the magnet, which resists the twisting press from the nail,which resists the twisting push from your fingers. So, in avery actual way, you have the right to FEEL the electron in the light pear filament.When you press them, you deserve to FEEL your reluctance to move throughthe small filament!

TURN off THE FIELD

Try an altering the magnets" position. Eliminate the magnets, then tape themaround the nail so the the two stacks room clinging next by side, ratherthan stack up in a line. Turn the magnets. Go the light pear stilllight up? No. This happens since The N pole of one magnet ridge isvery close to the S pole the the other, and also vice versa. The magnetic fieldis currently stretching in between the two stacks the magnets, and isn"t spreadingoutward. Most of the ar is trapped between the bordering oppositepoles, so the ar doesn"t expand out v the coil. When magnets room side by side like this, they kind one larger however weak magnet. Top top the otherhand, once you make a solitary stack the magnets instead, the field extendsoutwards for numerous inches. The stacked magnets form a larger however very solid magnet. If you spin the solitary magnet stack, thefield cuts with the wires and also pumps your electronsinto motion.

MEASURE THE VOLTAGE and also CURRENT

If you can acquire a Digital Voltmeter or DVM, you can make part measurements.(Once you can see part numbers, you deserve to perform some professional scienceexperiments. This is an excellent for scientific research fair projects.) rotate the magnetsto light up the bulb, then connect the meter leads throughout the irradiate bulbconnections. Collection the meter because that AC volts. Turn the magnets and also see justhow high a voltage your generator produces. Just how high have the right to you make the voltage simply by using fingers? Or utilizing a hand drill? try spinning the magnets just fast sufficient to barely irradiate the pear in a dark room. How small a voltage is needed? Also try disconnecting thelight bulb, then measure the AC voltage throughout the two ends that the coil.Can girlfriend tell if it"s quiet the exact same as as soon as the pear was connected? Hint: to spin the magnets in ~ a constant rate, usage an electrical drill with a fully-charged battery. Or maybe hook the pond to an electrical motor and also connect the motor to a DC strength supply with settable voltage. Note: The light pear has approximately 50 ohms resistance. Also, 250ft the #30wire has approximately 21 Ohms resistance. Since of the cable resistance, thegenerator deserve to only create about 60 milliamps present at many (0.06amperes.) If friend wind extra #30 cable onto the generator, it will certainly increasethe best voltage, and maximum power. But due to the fact that this add to moreresistance the WON"T increase the maximum feasible current. To increasethe maximum feasible current, either replace the #30 wire through thickerwire, turn the magnets faster, or use a stronger type of magnet material.

MOTOR CHALLENGE!

There is a simple means to transform your generator into a motor. It involves using paint or tape to insulate a clues on one side of the nail,then utilizing a 6V battery and using the generator"s wires,touching the pond to type a switch. The rotating magnets rotate the nail, which turns the coil onand off at simply the appropriate times. Deserve to you find the trick?

MAKING DC

You can readjust this generator so it provides DC rather than AC. The voltageis still really low, therefore it"s not very useful. If spun very fast, girlfriend mightbe able come recharge a small 1.2v rechargeable battery. (Maybe friend couldadd lots more turns of cable to the coil to rise the voltage?)Converting come DC:The tough way: include a rotate "commutator" switch andsliding steel "brushes," so that each time the magnets turn fifty percent way, theswitch reverses the generator connections. Straightforward way: include a one-way valve! one "electricity valve" is referred to as a diodeor rectifier. If you attach a diode in collection with one of your motorwires, the willonly allow the charges circulation in one direction. It will change theAlternating existing into one-way flow (called "pulsating straight current.)Try diodes from Radio Shack such as 1N4000 or 1N4001. Regrettably adiode needs around 3/4 volts come force any type of charges through, and also this voltagesubtracts from your generator output. If her generator only puts out onevolt, climate the diode will reduce this come 1/4 volt. Therefore if you desire to adda diode, shot doubling or tripling the lot of wire onyour generator. Also try using a unique "Schottky" diode v lowervoltage 보다 0.7V, such together 1N5819 from digikey.com

HISTORY the "ULTRA SIMPLE" GENERATOR

See my original 1996 version

While to run the technology shop in ~ the Museum of scientific research in Boston, ns wasworking on new ideas for exhibits for the electricity Hall in 1988. Iknew that the Exploratorium had an electrical generator exhibit where themuseum visitor would yank a plastic-embedded coil-plate v a row ofhuge magnets (large magnetron horn-magnets indigenous WWII military radar.) doing thiswould light up a little bulb. I just knew that there had to it is in some an approach whichuses much less expensive, typical magnets. So ns stacked increase a heap of 3" loudspeakermagnets (those black donut things) and also waved the past miscellaneous coils. Finally I wound around five pounds the #26 wire around a ring that nailspounded right into a board, hooked up a #49 irradiate bulb, then relocated the stack ofspeaker magnets in and also out. This quickly lit increase the bulb.

Around 1994 i was thinking about the ultra-simple electrical motor whichlater ended up being known on net as the "Beakman Motor." Wouldn"t it becool if youngsters could additionally make an electrical generator simply as simple? however it needs be done using components from a Radio Shack store, since Radio Shack had the unique light bulb as well as magnets and spools ofelectromagnet wire. ~ a few hours of trying out I fould the Icould simply barely light up the 20 milliamps bulb by utilizing a single spoolof #30 wire from radio shack. But the wire had actually to be very close to a fastspinning magnet, and also the magnet had to be created of four powerfulceramic magnets in a stack.

To impress all the Physics Teachers, i tried to do the parts be easilyavailable, and the expense as low together possible. To do a well-known project, Imade sure no tools were needed except scissors. Ns refused to usage ballbearings or saw-cut plastic parts. So ns made my very own cardboard box for thecoil, and also used a pond for the spinning shaft. To protect against extra parts, thenail is just clamped by the powerful magnets. Here"s a challenge: try to light a bulb, yet do it v a generator which is also simpler.

GOING FURTHER: hefty duty versions

Want a much more powerful motor or generator? Those require stamped-outiron sheets because that laminations. Yet there"s another way. Look right into Edison"s tactic: he took the 1873 Gramme-ring Motor, modified it by including a separate low-speed commutator,and offered them choose hotcakes.The magnetic core, the "laminations" that a Gramme rotor deserve to be made from a long size of iron wire wrapped as a hoop and also doused with epoxy, tar, etc. Ns don"t understand if good iron cable is basic to find, yet barbed wire and also hay baling cable is common. Wrap hefty copper wire around the entire iron ring and mount that on a flywheel. Grind the external rim flat, so the copper spiral can come to be its very own commutator. The stator can be long-term magnets, or non-laminated solid stole blocks, due to the fact that it"s DC. Beforehand versions supplied "paintbrushes" make of good iron wire together the brushes, later replaced through blocks that slippery graphite.But climate go and do together Tesla did, and also convert her initial stator designs into a compact cylinder form with attached coils, fairly than using large long horseshoe-magnets like Edison"s "long legged mary anne" design.Motor Triva: electrical motors were mere laboratory curiositiesuntil Zenobe Gramme arisen a generator which to be intended to change battery banks, since it gave exceptionally smooth DC output voltage. Throughout an inventors show, an assistant accidentally connected an unused Gramme Dynamo up to another that was running under heavy steam power. The 2nd one ran as a motor, as a *hundreds horsepower* motor. That minute was the start of the electrical age in industry. But this breakthrough is no much stated in American Textbooks, perhaps because it would make cutting board Edison show up less of a genius.

MAGNET WARNING

WARNING: keep the magnets away from computers, disks, videotapes, colorTV sets, and also wallets and purses containing credit transaction cards. Shot this: Keepthe generator much from your shade TV, turn on the TV, begin spinning thenail for this reason the magnet is rotate fast, then lug the generator around 2ftaway from the TV screen. DON"T carry IT CLOSER!!! keep spinning themagnets, and also you"ll see a cool wobbling effect in the TV picture, with some color changes. The field from the magnet is bending theelectron beam that paints the photo on the screen. It is in careful, if youbring the magnet around 15cm away, the iron sheet inside the TV picturetube will come to be magnetized and also the distorted colors will be permanent.

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